Today’s World Cup note: HBO’s John Oliver explains it far better than anyone has, can or will (http://bit.ly/TyM80F). That said, the Brazilians did manage to pull in their waste of money for roughly one-fifth the waste of money Russia expended upon the Winter Olympics, which either makes Russia five times as wasteful, or Brazil as sad runners-up in the resource-burning department.
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That said, maybe Oliver being the 73rd person to pile on the vomitorium of FIFA business turned the screw, because five of FIFA’s six main sponsors – including Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa and Hyundai – have openly expressed their concerns regarding the continued corruption allegations centered around Qatar’s winning bid for the 2022 World Cup.
Among those weighing in with at least a public tut-tutting are Adidas (“The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners”), Visa (“We expect FIFA will take the appropriate actions to respond to the report and its recommendations”), Coca-Cola (“Anything that detracts from the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup is a concern to us”) and Hyundai (“We are confident that FIFA is taking these allegations seriously and that the investigatory chamber of the FIFA ethics committee will conduct a thorough investigation.” According to BBC Sport, BP and Budweiser have now also publicly registered their discontent at the current state of play.
The one holdout: Emirates Airline, which is located in Qatar’s happy neighbor, Dubai.
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In another example of analysis gone bizarre, a new study in the Journal of Sports Economics finds that shorter NBA refs may – yes, MAY – call more fouls in a game. Paul Gift and Ryan Rodenberg studied 4,463 regular season games from 2008 to 2012, and found a relationship between the average heights of three-man refereeing crews and the foul rate (per 48 minutes) of the players they officiated.
But here’s the key. This isn't a large effect — according to the study, an average player would have around one more foul every 10 games if the crew's average height was under 6 feet instead of over 6-foot-3. Plus, the researchers had to reconstruct the refs' heights themselves and did not list them individually, thus proving nothing more than you already suspected: You will be happier with Joey Crawford officiating your game than Tony Brothers.
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California Chrome’s co-owner, Steve Coburn, finally apologized for his extended Lewis Blackian rant against Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist and the Triple Crown rules on “Good Morning America” Monday. He and his wife Carolyn appeared so that he could try to undo some of the damage he did to California Chrome’s self-esteem among his fellow horses (a.k.a. The Shame Of The Paddock).
“Very ashamed of myself,” Coburn said. “Very ashamed. I need to apologize to a lot of people.”
And he did. Two days late, and one day later than he should have, but what the hell.
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The DeSean Jackson-Drew Rosenhaus lawsuit over unpaid loans is now a lawsuit that may be about illegal payments. In filings made last week and reported by the good snoops at TMZ, Jackson alleged that Rosenhaus illegally paid him to be his client, a payout that included $50,000 in a Louis Vuitton bag handed over at a gas station at midnight.
In other words, Rosenhaus either bribed Jackson, or Jackson is a deadbeat, and either way, the deal was consummated over a Slurpee and Slim Jims. Our society stinks, again.
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Pete Carroll told USA Today he would have stayed as the coach at USC had he known the NCAA was going to drop the bomb on the school’s football program.
“The truth was, an opportunity came up and it was one I couldn’t turn away from,” he said. “The NCAA came back at the university . . . ‘Now we’re going to revisit after five years.’ I had no knowledge that was coming. We thought maybe it wasn’t coming because they didn’t have anything to get us with. It wasn’t five days, it wasn’t five weeks. It was five years. Had we known that that was imminent, I would never have been able to leave under those circumstances. When I look back now, I would have stayed there to do what we needed to do to resolve the problem.”
Yeah, right. And Jim Harbaugh had no interest in Peyton Manning.
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Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs are among at least six teams interested in acquiring Joe Thornton, and Eric Duhatschek of The Globe & Mail threw the Anaheim Ducks into the mix. All of this precludes the central truth that Thornton has a no-movement clause in his contract, which means that all this rumormongerage may result in nothing, leaving the Sharks to explain to a frustrated fan base why all the promised change turned out to be . . . well, what, really?
[RELATED: Report: Maple Leafs, others interested in acquiring Thornton]
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And finally, the Warriors announced that per tradition, they will make selected players available to the media following pre-draft workouts at the team’s practice facility, and that members of the Warriors’ staff will not be available after the workouts. We mention all this only because the Warriors do not currently have a draft pick, which means that barring some radical change, interviews will be available with people the Warriors cannot have, but not with people the Warriors DO have.
I mean, in case you’re trying to plot out your early summer.